Beijing Kicks Out Protesters Ahead of National Holiday on Oct. 1

Beijing Kicks Out Protesters Ahead of National Holiday on Oct. 1
Police and paramilitary guards surround a woman while a policeman reads her petition amid tightened security on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on March 6, 2007. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Frank Yue

Petitioners in Beijing are warning that the Chinese regime’s office for hearing public complaints and other similar governmental offices will sweep them out of the capital before Oct. 1, the regime’s annual commemoration of its founding.

Citizens with grievances typically travel to Beijing in the hopes of appealing their cases to authorities.

Around the time of important Party meetings or political anniversaries, authorities typically crack down on dissent.

Some petitioners recently said on social media that they won’t be allowed to stay in the capital during the one-week national holiday.

On Sept. 18, at around 2 a.m., Huang Ling traveled from the city of Wuhan, in Hubei Province, to visit the national Central Committee for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) office in Beijing and file her complaints. The CCDI is the regime’s anti-corruption watchdog.

When she arrived, a long waiting line disheartened her. She thought it would be impossible for her to get registered for the day.

She heard that the administration would remove all petitioners before Oct. 1. The previous day, some waiting in line were packed into three full buses and taken away, Huang said. “No sooner had a female petitioner come out of the building than she was forcibly pushed into a vehicle from Jilin Province. All the police and security guards lent a hand to get her in—no way of escaping. It’s an order from the institution,” Huang said.

Huang warned fellow petitioners on social media: “Avoid coming over, my friends. It would be too bad if you’re caught on the way here. Come at least after Oct. 1. Beijing police can find you out any time, since your health code has been scanned.” She’s referring to the health tracking app that assigns each person a code that determines one’s risk of contracting COVID-19. The codes are usually scanned at security checkpoints and at major transportation hubs.

Huang has a history of 10 years of petitioning in Beijing. She alleges that she was unfairly removed from her position as a prison guard in Wuhan.

On Sept. 20, Zheng Meicui, who came from Baoshan district in Shanghai, was stopped by officers from filing her complaint. She was taken back to Shanghai and detained on the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.”

Zheng alleges that her company was illegally seized for redevelopment, causing her to lose more than 10 million yuan (about $1.47 million).

On May 23, during the Two Sessions—the annual meeting of the Chinese Communist Party’s rubber-stamp legislature and its advisory body to enact policies and agendas—Zheng, out of despair, took insecticide out of her pocket, intending to commit suicide near Zhongnanhai, the Party’s headquarters in Beijing. But she was stopped by approaching local police. Later, she was detained for 30 days, and eventually released on bail.

Sun Hongqin, also from Shanghai, told The Epoch Times: “Zheng did nothing wrong. She just filed her complaints by normal means. The government detains petitioners or throws them into prison because they just want to crack down on them and retaliate against them.”

The origins of the regime’s petitioning system can be traced back to 1949, shortly after the Party won a civil war and took control of China. But it didn’t come into being until 1980, when Beijing established the Letters and Calls Bureau to hear grievances from persecuted individuals. The office was later renamed the National Public Complaints and Proposals Administration.

Ma Yanhong, former petitioner from northeastern China’s Liaoning Province, told The Epoch Times that she hopes “the Party will step down from power ... so all the suffering that we—this generation—has undergone will not be passed down to our children and grandchildren.” Ma, who has since fled China, alleges that authorities illegally seized her chicken farm.

Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China.
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